Like the berun, the Horned Beetle is proven to be a magical creature. Unlike the berun, however, the Horned Beetle is easier to research. Faros Empire researchers have made many interesting observations about this insect.
The Great Ullbarian Horned Beetle lives in the deserts of Leukhos, and is especially adapted to that environment. It is about 2-3 feet in width, resembling an almost perfect circle, and about 1-1/5 feet in height. The shell is usually covered with a thin layer of sand, but the retrieval of dead specimens in the desert have shown that the beetle has a dull glittering purple-black shell, with the wing cases, the thorax and head shells rimmed with bronze. The beetle has blue-green eyes, but generally they can't be seen from the outside because the head shell shields the beetle's "face" from the sun.
The beetle appears to be intelligent and shy - they often watch anything from a distance, peering out from under their head shells, before disappearing. They prefer to run away than attack, but if they feel cornered or threatened, they will extend two very long, sharp copper coloured horns and charge at the provoker. Otherwise, their first method of defence is to curl up so that the head piece slides into the thorax shell and tuck in their legs to form a perfect half sphere. Their shell is extremely tough and durable, and has been known to withstand direct spear blows.
It is an omnivore, but eats more plants than meat because meat in excessive quantities is not good for their digestive system. A beetle will travel over ten miles every day scouring the desert for food, and will and can eat any vegetation - even cactii and poisonous plants.
The reproductive cycle of the beetle is yet unknown, but it is believed that after the mating season the females lay a cluster of about 20-30 eggs deep in the sand, where the coolness and the magical saturation will help incubate them.
Observed differences between the male and female are usually that the female has smaller, but thicker horns, and the male hisses while the female makes an odd clacking sound.
Range and PopulationsEdit
No one has ever considered to keep a Horned Beetle as a pet, because of their size and massive appetite. The Horned Beetle shell is highly prized for making shields, but it is so difficult to catch one, let alone find a dead one (they have VERY long lifespans), that there are only a few Horned Beetle shields in existence today.
The Horned Beetle represents persistance, survival, longevity and determination. It can also be quite stubborn as a result. After failing to gain official recognition for using the berun, Faros Empire reluctantly embraced the Horned Beetle as their coat of arms animal, and was soon officially recognised to have the beetle on its crest. To this day, the Horned Beetle is widely used in motifs, interior decorations, embroidery and jewellery in the Empire.
It is known that nobles of the Faros Empire are given "beetle brooches" as a sign of their lineage and/or nobility. These beetle brooches are made by a jeweller whose secrets have been passed through the family for centuries. They have two variations - the normal brooches, which are about the size of a ping pong ball, and the "cloak brooches", which are about the size of an orange. Once a noble touches a new "beetle brooch", their life force is imprinted on the brooch, and the beetle brooch will always return to them no matter where they are, or how long it takes, should they ever lose it.